Wednesday, August 17, 2011

“I can’t say enough good things about the Red Cross…”

Photo: Stephen Johnson
When Lillian R. from Staten Island and her eight-year-old son returned home from an appointment one summer day, they saw two Red Cross vans and about 15 fire trucks in front of her building, where a fire was still smoldering. Lillian said, “When I saw the fire, I felt overwhelmed; I’d only been living there since November. I’m a single parent, and it was frightening.” Two of Lillian’s three sons, her 8 and 17-year-olds, still live at home; her 18-year-old lives on his own.

As scared as she was, Lillian was relieved to see Red Cross relief workers at the scene because she knew they would provide help right away. This was not Lillian’s first fire. “When my oldest boys were 6 and 7, I was living in Manhattan and had a fire,” she said. “The Red Cross helped me for a few days, put me in a hotel, assisted me with carfare and food. It’s a comfort when you see them.”

Lillian’s building in Staten Island was seriously damaged and it’s unclear if her apartment will be repaired before her lease is up later in the year. Fortunately, she and her two sons are staying with a friend for now, and Lillian is confident that the Red Cross will help her going forward. Her Red Cross caseworker has referred her to a NYC agency that will help her secure long-term housing for herself and her family.

“I can’t say enough good things about the Red Cross and the work they do,” Lillian said. “They are a blessing for families coming out of fires with nowhere to go. They are so kind and caring and they provide you with as much assistance as possible. They really go the extra mile for you.”

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